Belgium bans use of Ozempic for weight loss until summer


Belgium bans use of Ozempic for weight loss until summer

BRUSSELS, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Belgium has decided to temporarily ban the use of Novo Nordisk’s (NOVOb.CO) diabetes drug Ozempic as a weight loss treatment amid a shortage of the medicine, according to a royal decree published in the country’s Official Gazette on Tuesday.

Ozempic is approved to treat Type 2 diabetes but has increasingly been prescribed “off-label” to treat weight loss because it has the same active ingredient as Novo’s hugely popular – and scarce – anti-obesity drug Wegovy.

In Britain, doctors and prescribers, including private online pharmacies, have been ordered to stop prescribing Ozempic to people who don’t have type 2 diabetes as soon as possible.

They are also banned from starting new patients with type 2 diabetes on the medicine for as long as the shortage lasts.

Last month, Belgium’s federal medicine agency recommended doctors and pharmacists only prescribe Ozempic to diabetic patients due to the surge in demand.

The drug’s limited availability will last until June 2024, according to the agency.

Reporting by Marine Strauss Editing by Mark Potter

Source: Reuters